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|Subject:||Technical Term for a Change of Vowel Sound?|
I'm having a hard time identifying the technical term for the change to
the sounding of the ''e'' vowel in the English definite article ''the'' when
the next word begins with a vowel.
When the next word begins with a consonant, people in my area
typically sound the definite article as ''thuh.'' When the next word
begins with a vowel, they typically sound it as ''thee.''
In linguistics, what is the technical term for that change?
Yardley, Pennsylvania, USA
I am not aware of a name for this rule other than "the-allomorphy".
There is a general pattern in English that many vowels become schwa /ə/ or "uh" in
unstressed position and this is called vowel reduction.
However, I am not sure if "the-allomorphy" is part of that because this is conditioned
by whether the following sound if a vowel or consonant. There is also a question of
whether "the" is "thee" undergoing vowel reductions before consonants or "thuh" with
vowel raising before another vowel or if it's a frozen vowel change.
My intuition says that the underlying form of a "the" has a schwa, but the question
needs more examination.
|Reply From:||Elizabeth J Pyatt click here to access email|